I thought maybe the folks here at HAF could help me decipher a piece of trench art I have in my possession. This particular piece belongs to my Grandfather, and he gave it to me just before he passed away. He was given the piece after WWII as a thank you for his service during the war producing munitions at the Revere Copper and Brass works in Detroit where he was a supervisor and chemist.
First however; I thought I would share a couple other items I have in my possession that I thought may be of some interest.
First are a couple of Minie Balls my father found at the Gettysburg Battlefield site. He went there in the late 40's to visit an army buddy of his from the war. My father was a promising baseball player, and like many from his generation WWII cut his baseball career short. So after serving in the European theatre he returned home and went back to playing baseball. He was eventually signed on by the Chicago White Sox to play with their minor league team, but soon after suffered a career ending injury.
He was so devastated by this that he took some time off and traveled around the country to "Collect his Wits" as he would later say. One of his stops was to visit his buddy from the war that lived in Gettysburg. My father loved history, and said he and his buddy would spend many hours talking about the civil war to distract them while fighting their way into Germany.
On a tour of the battlefield he came across these two balls just north of the positions at Cemetery ridge. (My great, great grandfather on my mother's side was actually wounded at Gettysburg while fighting for the North)
This next item is one of my all time favorite possessions and should be easily identifiable to some of our British members. It's a Short Magazine Lee-Enfield (SMLE) CAL. 303 Rifle No. 1 Mark III.
This particular rifle is stamped with the date 1916, which means it's officially 100 years old...it still fires and is quite accurate. Some of the things I love about this particular piece is that it is in excellent condition, and although it has some normal wear still has all of it's original pieces, in fact one of the remarkable thing about this particular rifle is all of the serial numbers on it match, so it has not been pieced together from different weapons. It has the British Proof and Inspection Marks on the receiver indicating it passed government proof testing, as well as quality controls.
It's an amazing piece to hold and fire, and marvel at the history it represents. When you think of the impact it had during the first world war and all of the thousands, and thousands of troops that carried this exact rifle into battle (About 9lbs/4kgs unloaded)
I'm trying to find both an original strap and bayonet for it, but have been unlucky so far (I purchased the rifle down in TN in 1998)
So back to the item in question. This is an Imperial German 77mm field artillery casing manufactured in 1917 by Patronenfabrik Karlsruhe. You can see the firing marks on the bottom, and it has a crack that runs up along the sides which I'm not sure is from the initial firing or simply from age.
It has been etched completely around, but I've split it up into thirds.
First portion is dated 1918 at the top along with a cross, below that is a bi-plane, and below the plant a building which I have always thought was a hospital where the soldier who etched this was recovering, though it's possible it is a school or even his home I'm not sure.
Second portion is dated 1919 at the top, and just below that is an eagle, along with another eagle a bit lower down with what appears to be a crest. Below that are a couple trees jutting out of a small hill, along with a small park bench and a locomotive engine in the background. I've always thought this was a small park or section outside of the hospital from the previous section where perhaps the soldiers would sit during their recovery, or perhaps it could be a park from his hometown, but I'm not sure. There is also just to the right of this a women walking (2nd picture below) I thought perhaps she was a nurse from the hospital, or even his mother as the style of dress is somewhat matronly, but maybe she is the soldiers wife or girlfriend?
This is the third portion, and it also is dated 1919 at the top. Below that is an etching of an Imperial German helmet, and then the German Cross, and below those items is etched the following:
It is this section that I have been puzzled by, as I have not been able to figure out what PARMS stands for. Not sure if it is an acronym for something, or if it stands for the soldier unit or maybe it references the hospital where he recovered?
I’ve spent hours online researching with no luck.
So if anyone here has any ideas on what the PARMS might possibly represent or mean (Or have any ideas/thoughts on what the other sections represent) or even suggest a group or person whom I could contact I would deeply appreciate it.Sorry for the glare on the photos, taking a picture of a shiny piece of brass is for me impossible to do without producing the glare.